Amazon.com Inc. AMZN has agreed to pay $30.8 million in settlements with the Federal Trade Commission over allegations of spying on customers through Ring doorbell cameras and violating children’s privacy rights with Alexa recordings.
What Happened: In a shocking revelation, the FTC unveiled a disturbing privacy scandal involving Amazon’s Ring doorbell camera unit.
According to the commission’s court filings, a former employee of Ring spied on female customers for several months in 2017, surreptitiously placing cameras in their bedrooms and bathrooms, reported Reuters.
As a result, the FTC announced a $5.8 million settlement with Amazon, holding the company accountable for privacy violations.
Amazon also faced an additional $25 million settlement over allegations of violating children’s privacy rights through its voice assistant, Alexa.
According to the federal court filing in Seattle that outlined a separate settlement, the e-commerce giant failed to delete Alexa recordings at parents’ request and retained them longer than necessary.
“While we disagree with the FTC’s claims regarding both Alexa and Ring, and deny violating the law, these settlements put these matters behind us,” Amazon stated.
Notably, the fines levied on Amazon — counting $30.8 million — amount to a fraction of the company’s impressive first-quarter profit of $3.2 billion.
Why It’s Important: The recent FTC settlements reflect the agency’s ongoing endeavors to ensure accountability among big tech companies, as critics argue that their policies prioritize profits from data collection over safeguarding privacy, the report noted.
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